The Special Marriage Act, 1954-The Hindu-31-08-2022.

The Supreme Court dismissed a writ petition challenging provisions of the Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954.
Henry Sumner Maine introduced first time this type of ACT known as ACT-III in 1872, which would permit any dissenter to marry whomever they chose under this civil marriage law.
The special marriage act 1954 replaced the old Act-III 1872.

What is the purpose of the introduction of The special marriage act of 1954?

To provide special marriage in certain cases.
To provide for the registration of certain marriages.
To provide remarriage of divorce.

Who are applicable to the special marriage act 1954?
Any person, irrespective of religion can apply for the special marriage act 1954.
Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, or Jews can also perform marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
Inter-religion marriages are performed under this Act.
This Act is applicable to the entire territory of India and extends to intending spouses who are both Indian nationals living abroad.
Indian national living abroad.

Why there is a need for the special marriage Act, of 1954?

The marriage performed under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 is a civil contract and accordingly, there need be no rites or ceremonial requirements.
The parties have to file a Notice of Intended Marriage in the specified form to the Marriage Registrar of the district in which at least one of the parties to the marriage has resided for a period of not less than thirty days immediately preceding the date on which such notice is given.
After the expiration of thirty days from the date on which notice of an intended marriage has been published, the marriage may be solemnised, unless it has been objected to by any person.
The marriage may be solemnised at the specified Marriage Office under marriage officers along with three witnesses.

What are the legal conditions liable for marriage?

Each party involved should have no other subsisting valid marriage. In other words, the resulting marriage should be monogamous for both parties.
The groom must be at least 21 years old; the bride must be at least 18 years old.
The parties should be competent in regard to their mental capacity to the extent that they are able to give valid consent for the marriage.
The parties should not fall within the degree of prohibited relationship.

What are the challenges with the special marriage act?

Section 5 of the SMA requires couples getting married under it to give a notice to the Marriage Officer 30 days before the date of marriage.
Section 6 requires such a notice to be then entered into the Marriage Notice Book maintained by the Marriage Officer, which can be inspected by “any person desirous of inspecting the same”. So anyone can raise an objection to the marriage.
Section 7 provides the process for making an objection such as if either party has a living spouse, is incapable of giving consent due to “unsoundness of mind” or is suffering from mental disorder resulting in the person being Unfit for marriage or procreation.
Section 8 specifies the inquiry procedure to be followed after an objection has been submitted.
Violation of the right to privacy guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution as they require couples to give a notice of 30 days before the date of marriage inviting objections from the public.
Voilation of fundamental right of Article 14 and 15 on prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste and sex as well as right to equality as these requirements are absent in personal laws.

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